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Daphne Shum from NO ZU interviews Deerhoof

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Daphne Shum from Melbourne rock outfit No Zu interviews Satomi Matsuzaki from global popsters Deerhoof ahead of their upcoming appearance at this weekend’s Sugar Mountain Festival.

DS: I read about Deerhoof posting the sheet music for ‘Fresh Born’ online so fans can learn to play it. Do you normally notate your songs or did you only do it just for ‘Fresh Born’?
SM: It was just an idea to get audiences involved with our music. We didn’t expect that so many people were gonna try out to record their own take of ‘Fresh Born’.

We didn’t write down what speed or dynamics it should be played at and were really surprised by the results. Many of them are unique like vocal-only harmonies, school band and even a man imitating my voice (laughing).

DS: You and your bandmates live all over the world. Does living apart make your friendship with one another more special?
SM: Skype meetings seem to be working so far. I can imagine their physical presence in my mind…just close my eyes. We’ve known each other for long time so we are a kind of family. It’s like seeing your parents twice a year.

DS: I’m leaving NO ZU later in the year because of other commitments. I was heartbroken telling my bandmates, even though we’ll still hang out the time. Deerhoof’s lineup has changed constantly since the band started in 1994. Is it sad to see people go or is it exciting because it forces the music on unexpected tangents?
SM: It’s sad when i don’t see them as often as i used to but we never lose friendship with the past band mates.

When our former guitar player Chris left the band, we already had some big tours coming up so we had to quickly figure out how to play songs without him. It was challenging to do that in a week or less. That experience made me see our songs from a different angle. I felt like walking bare foot.

DS: You joined Deerhoof having never been in a band or played an instrument before, and now you play bass, guitar, drums, as well as sing. What’s an instrument you haven’t touched before that you’ve always wanted to play?
SM: I want to be able to play a flute. It’s very easy to carry around and sounds beautiful like a bird. Unfortunately I was never good at wind instruments. I even had a hard time passing the harmonica test in middle school in Japan when I was a six year old.

DS: Keeping with the spirit of DIY, you’ve been known to mix entire albums on a car stereo while on tour. Do you rely more on the ears of the people sitting at the front or the people at the back who can hear more bass?
SM: Haha. I never thought about people at the back being able to hear more low frequency. I actually don’t sit at the front so I should try to sit there sometimes to hear the difference, but I trust my bandmates ears.

Also, it’s important to test your mixes on laptops too because many people listen to music on their laptops and they usually sound so terrible, especially bass.

DS: I think one of the greatest privileges of gigging and touring is watching bands you would otherwise never know about. Are there any bands on your current tour that have stood out as particularly memorable?
SM: White Suns from New York was very fun. Their live show energy has distinct colors. Kyojinyueni Dekai from Osaka, Ichi from Nagoya, Kirihito from Tokyo. They are all great!

DS: What are some songs you’d put on a mix CD for a friend who is not feeling well?
SM: I wouldn’t make a CD,  I would go to see that person and sing for them.

DS: What about on a mix CD for a friend who doesn’t really listen to music?
SM: I wouldn’t try to force someone to listen if they’re not into music so much. That person may enjoy movies instead. The Never Ending Story theme song by Limahl is great.

Daphne Shum is supporting Deerhoof at the HiFi Bar this Wednesday.
Deerhoof play Sugar Mountain Festival this weekend.


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